Now if you havenít got thyme I have. Iíll tell you how to create it out of nothing. Well actually it comes from the seeds of thyme. You are especially well placed if you are a woman, because it waits for no man. They say thereís a thyme and a plaice, but I donít agree I think there are other herbs which show a greater affinity with fish. Thyme is added with Coq au vin, a sprig doesnít go amiss with pork, perhaps stuffed with apples and black pudding, and a confit of duck may be cooked on a bed of the gorgeous stuff. Together with sprigs of parsley and a bay leaf it forms the often used bouquet garni. What better than to pick all three fresh just before dropping them into that tasty dish.
Thyme doing well
The Ancient Egyptians used it as part of embalming oil, and the Romans, aware of its medicinal value, spread it with their empire to northern Europe. Thereís another thing we got from the Romans.
Flowering before pruning
Considering it helps to enliven so many recipes itís just as well that it aids the digestion. It also has an internal antiseptic effect as it has antibacterial qualities and so thyme is good for the gut. I grow common thyme (thymus vulgaris), because we have lemon thyme(thymus citriodorous) in the back garden. This goes well with fish. I love the latin names, in this case look how it translates as Ďthyme with the smell of lemoní. Itís like when you go to the doctor with a bad back and you find it reassuring to be told that you have pain in the lumbar area.
The lovely little flowers are attractive to bees, which aid fertilisation, like all the labiatae family which includes mint, lavender and rosemary
Thyme in its first year
Growing from Seed
Once it is warm enough I plant seeds in the conservatory in a 15cm pot of compost. They readily pop up all over the place. While they are still small I pick them out, by using the pointed end of a plastic label, into small pots of compost and let them establish themselves. Finally when they look big enough to take care of themselves I plant them out onto the plot. The one in the above photograph is this yearís. Next year it will bush out and in succeeding years I will split it in spring by chopping it with a spade and shear it back to about 10cm. Thyme doesnít always like this treatment, but itís better than letting it go ďleggyĒ.